Last thought's from Angola

Well this is written awhile after I left Angola. Thinking back on my stay there I must say that I had a very

A Smile!!

Do you know how beautyful a smile is?

How inspiring and giving it can be. How it makes you overcome all tiredness and hardship. How it makes you come to work and say "Muito Bom, Muito bom!!" and smile yourself when someone asks you how you're doing.

I know how this is, because I've just met the most lovely smile I've ever seen. It's not held back by the face it's in. This smile even make the surroundings smile with it.. Wonderful!!

I'm smiling..

Rain!! -- 18de Novembro de 2005

Yesterday I experienced my first real rain here in Angola. It was pouring down. A proper tropical shower.. The sky got grey, blury and the visibility was very short. The streets where filing up with water, someplaces even more than 30 cm.

In many ways I will finally the rain came. Because the rainy season has kind of officially been going on for about a month or so, but so far it's just been some drissling rain. But it doesen't normally rain often in Luanda, but when it does it happens properly. So luckliy I got to see some proper rain as well.

Surprise party!! -- 17de novembro de 2005

Yesterday after work started off not so very good. First the car wasn't here when I wanted to leave the office so I had to wait. I got the car, went to the shop and then home. When I got outside my building I parked the car, crabbed my stuff and got out. Walked about 6 meters, "where are my keys?". Phuuu, they're in the pocket! Ohh, no that's only the keys to the appartment. Walk back to the car and see the car keys inside and the car locked!!

So I called the logistics assistant to come with the extra set of keys. He arrives, but with no keys because he have still not found the extra set after it went missing. So he get some of the street kids to open the car. Almost expected that they would be skilled in this, but they used almost two hours breaking into the car and tried a lot of different methods. So Toyota Landcruiser are obviously a car which it's hard to break into.

I finally got home and made pizza to Heidi and John which came for a visit and a chat. They are two of my best friends here and I haven't seen them that much lately, so it was good to catch up. But after a short while, Heidi says that she thinks she hear someone knocking on the door. John walks out, opens, call me and say should come cause it seemed to be some problems. Before I had crossed the living room, it was all crowded around me. Most of my good friends in Luanda turned up to give me a party. It was great, it was very nice seeing them all, some of them for the last time since they're going away and will not be able to come to the despedida!

I really appreciated the party, it was so good feeling that I was among friends which care about me and want me to be happy and wish me the best for the future. This surprise party showed me that I have got some really good friends during my stay here in Luanda. Which all of them are very much appreciated. Guess I ow John a big thank you!! THANK's for the party John, you caught me by surprise yesterday!!

Despedida -- 16de novembro de 2005

Soon leaving!! And I cannot leave with out a despedida, a farewell party! I think it would be disrespectful to the friends I've got here and not saying properly goodbye. Unfortunately I won't have time to see them all one by one, but by inviting to a despedida the day before I leave should give me the opportunity to say goodbye to most of them.

Read more about the despedida here

Coming to Norway -- 14de Novembro de 2005

Now I've got a bit more information about the coming weeks and the change of jobs. I'll be leaving Angola the 22. of november and arrive in Norway the 23. I will leave Norway heading for Sri Lanka around the 1. of december. The week or so that I have in Norway will be used to prepare my work and stay in Sri Lanka. I will also try to meet family and friends during those days. I cannot promise I will have the time to meet everybody..

When I'm in Norway I will probably be based in Hønefoss. But will have quite a few meetings and such in Oslo. Hopefully there are some nice friends out there which will let me sleep on the coach for a night or two as well. And if there are some parties or other venues going on which is going on, please let me know.

I don't know much more about the job on Sri Lanka still. But I presume that when I get to Oslo I will get a lot more information about it and at least when I get to Sri Lanka. So more information about this will come in the future.

Since last!! -- 2de Novembro de 2005

Hope you my visitors and readers are not to bored about not getting any news for more than two weeks..? Well I cannot say other than I have a bit of a bad conscius. Been thinking about it every day since I got back from Sao Tome that I needed to write. But the week or so since I got back has been quite busy.. Things going on almost all the time.

As probably you all know there is always a lot of catch up at work when you have been away for a week. So has also been the case for me after getting back from Sao Tome. But it has also been a good time at work, I have enjoyed it and felt like I have done a good piece of work.

On my spare time things has also been quite hectic. One reason is that I felt like catching up with all my friends here and learn what has been going on and also tell about my trip. So the time has been filled with dinner parties and drinks.

Besides all this catching up there has also been several other things going on. Salsa class on tuesday's, Salsa practising at our place on wednesdays. Volleyball and a group of us was asked to not come back next time since we're not competitive enough.

The weekend was a good combination of dinnerparties, going out for drinks, work, and a day at the beach. Saturday evening we had a "pizza and wine" party at 11th floor. It was good fun and very easy. The clue was that everybody should bring a pizza and a bottle of wine, this way we could gather a lot of people for a dinnerparty without the host having to cook for a whole day. It was very nice. Sunday we celebrated Isabelle's birthday with a brai on the beach. It was a nice beach and a lot of waves, which I thought was very fun! I love playing in the waves, but they have to be BIG. It reminded me of my childhood hollidays in Denmark..

My trip to Sao Tome was also good. A place I really can recomend for holliday. But in partivular I can recommend it for people living in Angola and need a time of, because it's so easy accesable from here and it's so easy and calm there. The island is very green, the people are very laid back and calm and there are quite a bit of things to do there.

And what did I do on Sao Tome? The main reason for going there was to renew my VISA for Angola, which went surprisingly well. Other than that I went on an excursion to see som of the old Rocah's, plantations. Sao Tome is a very fertile island and has in it's time been one of the most important supplier of both sugar and cocoa. It at one stage supply so much cocoa to the world's choclate produser's that it was called "the chocolate island."

I also went to a few nice places in the town of Sao Tome. Which two of them I would like to recommend to you, if you ever go to Sao Tome. One of them is Cafe & Companhia, which is the only proper cafe in Sao Tome. A very relaxed and nice place runned by a Maria Joao. She makes a very good atmosphere there and I felt very welcomed the first time I got in there. The other place is a restaurant called O Rei Amador. A restaurant on a pir outside Marlin Beach Hotel. With it's good locations out in the sea it makes a perfect spot for seafood. And the fish from the grill there is faboulus.

I went for a bikeride one day as well, nice to get some excercise. I also like to use the bike to see places, because you have a fair range with a bike but it still dosen't go to fast which means that you're actually able to see something while travelling around. Good things for biking in Sao Tome is that there is not much traffic, it's a bit up and down whihc is good for the excercise and the roads are really not to bad.

But my single best excperience on Sao Tome was saturday morning. I got up quarter to five and got picked up at five. And why would I get up that early on a holliday, some of you might have guessed. Sao Tome is and island, which means fish and even I remember from my childhood fishing trips that the best time for fishing is in the morning. So yes I was going fishing! Normally I wouldn't even care about fish except for eating it, because I think fishing is boring. But why should I then try now? Well the potential of some proper big game fishing tempted me so I thought that I should give it a try when I had the chance. I went out with Norberto, probably the best fisher in Sao Tome at least according to his reputation among other people there. And he didn't let me down, we got a fish. And not just any fish, we got a Marlin on the hook. After we got it on the hook I guess that we use one and a half to two hours to get it in. It was damn exhausting, but it was so great when we got it up to the boat. The Marlin was 178 kilos. And I know for sure that I will go big game fishing again, it was really fun and recomendable!.

Going to Sao Tome -- 15de Outubro de 2005

Tomorrow morning I will go to Sao Tome. Going there for rest & recreation, which is some sort of obliged holiday. This so we will get a bit of a distance to the situation here. But also to rest and recharge the batteries. But going away is not necesserily resting, at least not the days before and the first days when you come back. Because now I have to prepare and make sure that there are no pending issues..

So far I have no itinery for what to do on Sao Tome. But after checking Navetur's site about Sao Tome I have some ideas. Gonna try to do some diving, and for sure I gonna do some hiking (that's one thing I as a norwegian miss), maybe some sailing.. And hopefully a lot of other fun activites. Let you know more when I get back!

But there will probably not be any news here before after I get back next monday..

New flat mate and a housewarming party!!! -- 9de Outobro de 2005

Just after the football game yesterday I made the appointment to get a new flatmate. Then a short while after that we decided to have housewarming party, for me (I haven't really had any yet) and my new flatmate. Then she moved in with us and the guests came a few hours later.

So this spontanius party turned ouy yo be very good!! Not that I had excpected anything else, but you never know how many going to turn up when you invite them to a party like tree/four hours in advance. And would we have enought drinks, because by the time we were heading back home the shops had closed.

But people turned up and it was great. Even though my guess that there might have been like a hundred people passing by the party, there where never really crowded. Because people tended to come stay for two/three hours then leave and some new comes around. So it was a good, easy rotating crowd. Since it was three of us hosting the party it was also a lot of new people to everybody. So that was very nice.

Angola qualified for the World Cup 2006 -- 8de Outobro de 2005

Many will now wonder, why I is telling any news about football?!! As many know I'm not really a football fan, hardly follow any sports.. Like I always say sports and activites are always better doing than watching. Watching sports is generally a waste of time in my opinion.

But since I'm living in Angola, I thougth that I should tell that they won their last game in the qualifying against Rwanda. With this victory they made it to the World Cup 2006 in Germany. This is the first time ever Angola have qualified.

One of the other reasons I wanted to tell that they won is that this really meant something for the people here. When they scored their one goal we could here the charing from the entire neighbourhood, and when the game ended with victory to Angola it was incredible. We heard and saw people everywhere, greeting, smiling, shouting, laughing, crying.. Yes, any kind of emotions they where able to show and they did.

Bollebaking -- 5de Outobro de 2005

Er ikke lett å lage boller! Nå vil sikkert mange i Norge le, for det er jo enkelt. Ja, det er jeg også normalt sett enig i. Men når man er andre steder i verden er det ikke alltid like lett. Og hvorfor ikke?

Flere grunner vil jeg nå si, men råvarene er nok kanskje den viktigste. Melet er annerledes, gjæret er annerledes, men ikke minst er margarinen annerledes. Den lukter annerledes når den blir smeltet og setter samme rare smaken i bollene. Så jeg må forske litt på hvilken margarin som kan passe best.. eller kanskje jeg kan bruke olje?

En annen ting som ikke gjør det lett, er å lære seg er komfyren. For det er nemlig gasskomfyr og jeg har nå ihvertfall aldri bakt i en gasskomfyr før. Å bruke gasskomfyr gikk nå greiere enn fryktet selv om det ikke var helt perfekt. Ekstra utfordringer ved baking er vel ikke noe nytt når man er borte fra eget land.. Men som nevnt tidligere det krever bare litt mer forskning og prøving. Tips tas imot med takk!!

Back from Lubango -- 4de Outobro de 2005

Just a short note to say that I'm safe back from Lubango. I had a great trip. Finallly I got to see our office in Lubango and meet my colegues there. I also went on a field trip to a small village called Caconda, I went there to see our projects in action. The trip there was also very good to my portuguese, since the driver knew a little bit english and I even less portuguese. But I tried to speak portuguese and he english, so we both learned.

The weekend was spent with some of my Lubango colegues and some friends. Saturday we went to Namibe, which is a town by the coast two hours drive from Lubango. The road there is the best in Angola, not even a single whole. It also has a passage that is even more impressive than "Trollstigen". Sunday we spent in Lubango surroundings, which also was very nice. Lubango is a very calm, quite and nice place. I enjoyed my stay there and hope to get back soon.

Going to Lubango -- 26de Setembro de 2005

Tomorrow morning I will fly to Lubango and gonna stay there until sunday. Lubango is the provincial capital in Huila province, Huila is south in Angola.

I'm looking forward to go to Lubango of two reasons. One is that it's gonna be interesting to see more of the projects NRC are running in Angola. Lubango is we're we have our second largest office. Our projects in southern Angola is runned from Lubango. We're not only going there to see the projects but also to work with the local finance officer and make our monthly report.

The other reason why I'm looking forward to go to Lubango is that it's supposingly beautyful there. It's also said to be a very tidy and clean city with less cars and traffic. Everybody I have spoken with, that has been in Lubango say it's fantastic. So I have high expectations to Lubango and my visit's the coming week. But I will tell more about how I liked Lubango and what we did when I get back!

Street boys -- 24de Setembro de 2005

The last two weeks it has been very easy for me to get a parkingspot outside my buliding. When I come driving down the Marginal the street boys recognice my car. By the time I have gone down the street and got back again they have found me parkingspot. They also make sure that they take the spot which is closest to my building. Not that I can talk much with them since my portuguese is not that good and their english is non-excistent, but they told me that they find this spot so I can watch my car from my veranda.

They don't do this just to be nice. They need money and this is their way of honestly making some. And since I think it is better to pay them when they do something rather than begging, I gladly pay when they find me a prakingspot and also guide me into the spot.

They also make money in carrying groceries and bags up the stairs. So whenever I have been to the shop and have more than one bag of groceries I let them carry it up for me. It makes it easier for me and they get paid by doing something rather than just begging. We have also got a good tone and smile and say hello whenever I meet them.

En liten drøm! -- 18de Setembro de 2005

En ting som er veldig hyggelig er å få mail, brev eller hilsen i gjesteboka.. Jeg setter veldig stor pris på når jeg får et lite livstegn fra venner og kjente i Norge. Så til de av dere som sender meg en mail i ny og ne eller har lagt igjen en hilsen i gjesteboka; TUSEN TAKK!!

Det trenger ikke å være noe spesielt som har skjedd eller dere har å fortelle for at det er hyggelig å høre noe. Det er veldig hyggelig bare å høre at dere har det bra og om de dagligdagse normale tingene dere gjør.

Så dette er et hint om å sende meg en liten hilsen eller noe.. (Håper ikke alle sender mail mandag og ikke noe mer kommer i tiden fremover!)

Treningsfantomet!! -- 17de Setembro de 2005

Lately I have really got in to exercising. The last week I have been exercising five times, one day even twice. I have also been the one asking other's to come along, so I'm not being dragged along. Sometimes I even go alone. But it feels good and I'm looking forward to next time. But in many ways you really need to exercise here, because I sit the whole day in the office, I drive to work and everywhere else I'm going. So in order to keep the blood circulating you have to exercise..

So what do I do? I mainly play tennis and go running. I play tennis at the Swedish compund with some Anjala and Paul which live there. It's good fun, this week I even got my own tennis racket. I play tennis twice ot tree times a week, gotta train a lot becuase I have someone I gonna beat when we meet again ;)

I go running on the Marginal, which is the bayside walking path just outside the builidng I'm living in. It's a nice and safe place to go running. Guess it's about 2 km on way and I run it back and forth once or twice, two tree times a week. But I have even gonne spinning at the gym once, not as bad and extreme which I feared.

Documentary evening -- 14de Setembro de 2005

When I got to work after my portuguese class yesterday, I got a bit of a surprise. One of the e-mails in my inbox had a list over people coming to my place for a documentary evening. Not that I had any major plans for the evening, but I had not planned for the documentary evening either..

But it was not as surprising and unplanned as it might seem. I had invited for an documentary evening, but not yesterday. I had invited for people to come on thursday.. but there had been a misunderstanding so one of the other inviting people had invited for tuesday. So what do we do, jump around and arrange it.

But it was a very good session last night and we ended up to be 20 people. The documentary was about the post war situation in Angola. How the situation was for people living in Angola, both on the streets and more succesfull. It showed the problems but also showed examples that develpoment work has an positive impact. It was a good documentary which was presented with good music and a bit poetic in its form. After the documentary we had a good discussion around the movie. It was a good discussion, but I couldn't follow it all since most of it ended up being in Portuguese..

Some other day I will try to show the documentary I have about the night commuters and children of war torn Gulu, Norther Uganda.

New appartment -- 1.September 2005

My new appartment is on the Marginal. The Marginal is the road which runs along the bay in Luanda. The appartment is in one of the tallest buildings there and high up, so we have view in tree directions. So on the front side we have the view over to Ihlia, which is the strip of land on the outside of the bay. The Ihlia is the closest beach place and have a lot of restaurants. On the side which will also be the view from my bedrom is over the city and up along the Marginal. On the backside we got more of the city and up towards Miramar where the American Embassy thrones as a fortress.

The appartment has huge living room with a sitting group and a bar in one section. In the other section there is a dining table where we can seat eight people, so there will be some dinner parties soon. The kitchen is of good size and have a gas stove. There are tree bedrooms and two bathrooms in the appartment.

At the moment I’m living there together with Aldo which is an italian guy working for WFP. In the beginning of October there will probably move in a girl as well together with us.

The down sides of the appartment, which I was warned about before moving in, is no elevator and no hotwater. Since we live on 11th floor we get some excersice everyday. And I guess I won’t mind only cold water since summer is coming upon us here these days. But I wonder if I’ve been bad luck since we had no water here the since Tuesday, and there has been no problem with the water for the last two three months. Guess it will be better again soon..

A brief update -- 29.of august 2005

Has gone awhile since any news has been served here at Cafefrank, sorry for that. The sad thing is also that I have a lot to tell, but just haven't had the time. Well as my uncle said some years ago he was happy when he didn't heard from his children when they were on holliday on their own. Because that meant that they had a good time and did not use time to write home. Guess that for the last week or so, this apply very much to my situation. There has happened a lot and all of it has been good, fun and interesting. Time is still limited, but let me give you a brief update of what has heppened lately:

Last week Marine from Armenia arrived in Luanda. She is going to work with NRC Angola to help in the Finance department. It has been great having her here and we have worked good together. Guess that will continue for all her six weeks here.

This weekend I spend on Massulu, an island just outside Luanda. We were there to celebrate Marta's birthday. So we had a relaxing, fun good and great weekend. It was a bunch of good people, the weather was nice, food was good, water was ok to swim in, beach was nice to stay on.. So everything was good and we all had a great time.

Today I'm also going to move. I have got a room in an appartment down on the Marginal. Gonna stay there with Aldo from WFP and maybe there will move in an girl as well. The appartment is big, the rooms were nice, everything worked properly and the view is great. 11th floor overlooking the Ihlia and the bay outside Luanda. The only two drawbacks are that there are no elevator and not hotwater. But for the lack of elevator I will get a lot of excercise and summer is coming so I guess I will prefer cold showers. will let you know more about the place when I'm settled there!

So this are the major things happening in my life here in Luanda last week. A lot else happened as well and I have a good time here in Angola. Interesting job, good colleagues, good friends etc.

The HASH race -- 20.of august 2005

The HASH is something which I beleive that could get a lot of my friends which do not like to excercise to actually get their ass of the coach and run!! Why? Because it's beer involved, a lot of it actually!!

Well, let me describe what the HASH is, at least my understanding of it at this point. The HASH is a very social way to get some exercise where you run together as a group. Or as they say themself "A drinking club with a running problem!!" The point is for the whole group to find the way and not for each runner to be the first one. Because in advance of the Hash race someone has been out and marking a trail with signs. The signs is not always easy to see and find so everybody has to look out. And to make it a bit more complicated there are also made dead ends and several of options.

Approxiamtely halfway there is a beer (or water) stop for those who are thirsty and like a rest. There are two routes in the race one for those who run and one for those who ike to walk. Since this is very much a sosial event, the stop is at the same spot. After the race there is a ceremony to welcome the newcommers and to others who of various reasons deserve to mentioned. This is a very traditional ceremony which I shall not go in detail here. But it do include beer!! So Helge and øyvind I'm sure you would have loved this way of exercise!

Hash races are fairly worldwide, I beleive it's mostly in expat communities. But this might only be my experience here with the Luanda hash. But as far as I know the phenomen has it's origin in England. But if you want to read more check out Luanda Hash or GTHHH. So if you're in for some humour and fun while running seek up your nearest has race and join in!!

A brief update -- 29.of august 2005

Has gone awhile since any news has been served here at Cafefrank, sorry for that. The sad thing is also that I have a lot to tell, but just haven't had the time. Well as my uncle said some years ago he was happy when he didn't heard from his children when they were on holliday on their own. Because that meant that they had a good time and did not use time to write home. Guess that for the last week or so, this apply very much to my situation. There has happened a lot and all of it has been good, fun and interesting. Time is still limited, but let me give you a brief update of what has heppened lately:

Last week Marine from Armenia arrived in Luanda. She is going to work with NRC Angola to help in the Finance department. It has been great having her here and we have worked good together. Guess that will continue for all her six weeks here.

This weekend I spend on Massulu, an island just outside Luanda. We were there to celebrate Marta's birthday. So we had a relaxing, fun good and great weekend. It was a bunch of good people, the weather was nice, food was good, water was ok to swim in, beach was nice to stay on.. So everything was good and we all had a great time.

Today I'm also going to move. I have got a room in an appartment down on the Marginal. Gonna stay there with Aldo from WFP and maybe there will move in an girl as well. The appartment is big, the rooms were nice, everything worked properly and the view is great. 11th floor overlooking the Ihlia and the bay outside Luanda. The only two drawbacks are that there are no elevator and not hotwater. But for the lack of elevator I will get a lot of excercise and summer is coming so I guess I will prefer cold showers. will let you know more about the place when I'm settled there!

So this are the major things happening in my life here in Luanda last week. A lot else happened as well and I have a good time here in Angola. Interesting job, good colleagues, good friends etc.

Good news for the future!! -- 19.of august 2005

Well in my opinion I have good news about my future possibilites for doing what I want to do. Because today NRC has announced that they are seeking finance and administration managers to a pre-assessed pool of such. See announcement here. Which probably mean that they see an increase in the need for people with such skills. So since I'm a trainee in FAM and do want to work in NRC or other aid agencies this is good news for me.

I'm not sure if everybody else thinks this is good news. I'm then esepcially thinking of those of you which want me back in Norway. But sorry, this is kind of my dream and finally I have manged to get on this track. I must also say that so far I have really enjoyed my work and new life with NRC in Luanda, Angola. So I do know what I want to do!!

Article in Aftenposten about NRC's trainee program -- 14. of august 2005

Aftenposten, one of the main newspapers in Norway interviewed three of the trainees that is a part of NRC's trainee program. You can read the article here.

You can also read the article about Frank in Ringerikes Blad here.

Parcel arriving, Finally!! -- 11. of august 2005

I did send a parcel with some of my personal belongings from Norway so I should have less to carry and not have to worry about overweight on the plane. But when I look back on the story of my parcel I guess it would have been more easy to bring some overweight instead. To send it from Norway was fairly easy and was mostly arranged by the NRC.

But the receiving of the parcel has been a bit of a challenge. Luckily I have good people at NRC Angola to help out. First we went to the airport to pick up the parcel, when we got there we showed the papers and had to pay some handling fee (fair fee's with receipt and everything.) Then I thought now I will get my parcel, but no! We had done the paperwork today and should come back the next day to pick up the parcel, bureaucracy needed some time I was told. Ok fair enough, one day ekstra couldn't harm that much.

The next day when logisitics here at NRC Luanda should pick up my parcel there was some problems. He needed a copy of my passport to identify that I had allowed him to pick up the parcel. Ok, but why hadn't we been told that the first day. Then there was further problems and delays, I tried to ask but didn't really understand what the problem was except that customs wouldn't release my parcel. At some point they actually claimed more than five times the value of the parcel in taxes. So I started to be a littel bit frustrated about it all.

But today, they finally released the parcel. So I'm very happy about that :) But we probably have to pay some import taxes, but we're going to get a invoice for that. Really wondering how much we will end up paying??

Snail mail -- 11. of august 2005

Monday I got a letter from Norway, a ordinary letter through the ordinary postal services. During the last years I have been less and less interested in ordinary mails. e-mails are faster more convenient, not dependent upon place and time. But I will be lying to you to say that I was not happy about the letter I received. Guess there is two reasons for that, one that it was very unexpected to receive a letter, so I guess that made it more special.

But the actual letter in itself also made me feel happy. A nice letter with a picture of some of my african friends. The letter was from Elin Christiansen at NSF (Norwegian Guide and Scout Ass.) office in Oslo. She was saying thank you for the help with the African visitors at the National Jamboree in Norway this summer. It was all nice work and good fun, so I didn't needed or expected a thank you. But still I think it was very nice to receive it. Thank you Elin!!

Birthday party in Luanda -- 05. of august 2005

Yesterday, 4. of august was my birthday. I had a few friends over for dinner. I served norwegian food, meat balls, cabbage in white sauce, potatoes and brown sauce to it. I'm a bit proud of myself becasue I made it alle from scratch :). Heidi, one of my good friends here had also baked a banana-cake, it was delicious as usual. It was a very nice evening and I'm happy that my friends came over.

The rest of the day was quiet with nothing much happening. Was on my language course in the morning, went to work and then home to prepare dinner. Got a few phone calls from my family and some friends. Was good talking with people far away and some which I haven't spoken to since before I left.

Boa Tarde

Chamo-me Frank, sou norueguês e sou economista.

Then I have started my portuguese language course. So maybe you will read the stories at the café in portuguese soon? Well don't worry yet, don't think I will be that good straight away.. But you will probalby get a portuguese word every now and then..

I have started in a portuguese class for foreignes at Alliance Francais here in Luanda. The first day was only me and a teacher, that was a bit disappointing because I wanted a class and not "private" teaching. But today, my second day at the class two more students showed up. Liliana from DR Congo and Fransesco from Cuba, they both seemed to be very nice. Our teacher is an Angolan called mr Fransisco. So now I will attending the portuguese class twice a week, tuesdays and thursdays.

Some thoughts about technology -- 31. of july 2005

They seem to have quite a bit of modern technology here. In my appartment I have sattelite TV with more than 100 channels, that's probably not the average but satelite TV seems to be widespread according to all the satelite dishes on the houses. Mobile phones are widespread, most people seems to have them. There are quite a few ATM machines around town and supermarkets takes cards. All this said, this is probaly most true in Luanda and maybe some other major city's

But despite all this modern technology which normally is connected worldwide and makes you able to use your own gadgets (phones, credit cards, etc) abroad. Which in my oppinion is one of the good things of modern technology. But it doesen't seem to be connected to rest of the world here in Angola. (Well the satelite-TV gives me a lot of international TV-channels.)

Take mobile phones for instance. I brought my phone and SIM-card from Norway. But my SIM-card does not work here. I know that my phone company back home in Norway not necesserily roams with all other networks around the world. But here in Angola it seems to be no foreign phone companies roaming with the local companies. Well I got my local SIM-card and can luckliy use my norwegian phone. But with that one, I can send sms abroad, but cannot receive any from other countries than Angola. Kind of frustrating haveing access to the technology, but not be able to use it as efficent as in rest of the world.

Even though they have ATM machines here, I cannot use my credit card here. Not to withdraw money or to pay in shops or restaurants. I know this is a bit more common problem world wide. But it still seems like vasting the opportunities which lies in the technology.

Maquela do Zombo -- 21. of july 2005

The trip to Maqueal do Zombo started with a delayed flight. But a very little information about it being delayed. The reason, we found out later was that the guy which should do the check in was sick, so they needed to find some stand in. When we then came to M'banza Congo, we couldn't travel further on that evening. We had a long drive ahead and it would go dark before we would reach Maquela do Zombo.

One curiosity to tell about M'banza Congo is that it has the oldest church in sub-sahara'n Africa. It's a Chatolic church buildt in the 16'th century. The late Pope Paul II has visited the church once.

Experiencing the road from M'banza Congo to Maqueal do Zombo the next day I understood why we shouldn't travel by night. It was a interesting and adventoures journey. We could see where the road was all the time, which was good because we should not go outside it due to danger of landmines. But the condition of the road was sometimes so severe that I thought it would be easier to go offroad. So I must say that I'm really impressed by the driver, because he always found the way and there was never any really problem of getting there.

Mole is the representive manager in Maquela do Zombo, he is a really great man with a good smile. He gladly showed me all their project's over the last years in Maquela do Zombo and the surrounding villages. NRC has been represented in Maqueal do Zombo since they started their project's in Angola in 1997. During these years they have done quite an amount of work.

NRC has been constructing and renovated quite an amount of schools over these years. They have also bulidt houses for returnees. Then in particular extra vulnarable which not are able to construct a house themself. Like disabled people, some of them also single mother's, blind people, people taking on a lot of orphan's to give them a family and other's. They have also been involved in special teacher training so they also can help those pupil's returning and have drop out of school for many years. And also some distribution of various item's.

but what impressed me the most was not any of the project's fulfilled by the NRC. But some of the teacher's we met when we visited some of the schools constructed by the NRC. One place there we're only one teacher in the whole village, so he had four classes. Preparation, first, second and third class. Two at the same time in the morning and two in the evening. It was the only option for the children to get an education he said.

Going to Maquela do Zombo -- 17. of july 2005

There will not be many news here on cafefrank in the beginning of next. Because on monday I'm going to Maquela de Zombo to visit some of NRC's field operations. Actually Maquela do Zombo is the first place in Angola where the NRC started project's. But I will tell you more about this when I come back. But for those of you worrying of the Marburg virus which was reported in Uige, I can tell that the virus had the outbreak in the town if Uige and not spread out to the whole province. Attempts to control the outbreak has also been succesful. So there should be nothing to worry about.

Heidi Frank -- 16. of july 2005

This weekend I got to know some new people. It was good to meet people outside the office as well. One of these which I met was a gril called Heidi. When I said my name she said, "wow that is my last name!". Which I found a bit funny because she will then be named Heidi Frank, which is the first names of my sister and myself. The world is a strange place with a lot of curiousities.

I met Heidi through Torstenm which is Heidi's flatmate. I met him on thursday as he attended to a meeting with Lars at NRC. Through Heidi I've already also met other people, so my network has rapidly been growing here. So I feel well welcomed here even after this short time. Which is good and also gives me the sence that I will like it here in Angola. So I can only say that I'm looking forward to the rest of my stay here :)

Luanda 14.of july 2005

Hi there friends. I've now been in Luanda, Angola, for a few days. So far my stay has been good. Even though this is the cold season, it's like a normal warm norwegian summer. We have about 23 degrees celsius, dry air, a bit cold at the night. So a good and nice climate here at the moment.

I've had briefing and discussions with Lars on what I gonna do during my stay here in Angola. We also discussed about expectations and duties. It seems like we have quite the same outlook on this, so I think this will be good. Gonna work a lot with the finance administration and accountancy. But are also going on quite a few trips out in the field to learn more about how the project's are running and have a look upon there cash management. Are also going to learn portuguese. Has been looking for some language courses today and gonna search for more tomorrow.

Luanda is the capitol city of Angola. It has about 4 million inhabitant's. It's not very easy to navigate around the city. When I start to get a bit familiar about where we're driving, then Renato or one of the other drivers turn opposite of what I think is natural. One of the reason's for this is that Luanda has a lot of hills and has never been planned or organized in it's making. Which naturally makes a lot of streets in odd direction's. The other reason is the traffic, there is a lot of traffic in Luanda and everybody are really fighting for there place in the traffic. Guess this reflect's a lot of the life in Angola, that it's always been a fight and a struggle to survive and live. But due to the traffic it's sometime is faster to drive tripple the distance. Which then is also one of the reason's it's quite confussing to travel around here. Especially for me as a newcomer and a foreginer.

Now I'm living at the "swedish house" which is some sort of guesthouse where I'm sharing a flat with two other guys. One Swede working for an organsisation called Indevelopment and an Australian based in UK working for a company maintaining the satelite link at the Swedish Embassy. The australian are leaving tomorrow morning. We're making our own food here, but the place is kept clean by the staff. An ok place to stay.

But tomorrow I'm gonna look at a few other guesthouse's to see if I gonna move. Good to have something to choose from and to compare standars. So maybe I'll be moving some other place over the weekend.

A short summary of some of my impressions from the first few days. I'm alive and as you have read it has been good. I'm really looking forward for rest of my stay. So hope you all also have a good time in your place of the world. Please send me and e-mail on how you're doing or leave a note in the café FRANK's Guestbook.


11.juli setter Frank seg på flyet til Angola. Hva i allverden skal han i Angola? Han skal begynne på sin nye jobb som Trainee innen Finance Management i Flyktninghjelpen. I 6 måneder skal han da bo og jobbe i Angola for å lære hvordan det er å jobbe i felt. Frank gleder seg stort til denne muligheten! Her på cáfe Frank kommer det til å bli lagt ut nyhetsbrev fra opplevelsene og erfaringene i Angola

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